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On the stump

South Boston News
E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, spoke to about 60 supporters who turned out for his “meet and greet” session. In the background, with her poster, is one of those who stood outside protesting Jackson’s visit. (David Conner II photo) / July 18, 2013
The Republican candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor stopped by South Boston Tuesday afternoon and received a hearty welcome from about 60 supporters.

E. W. Jackson met backers at Hardee’s in Riverdale, where he stressed his confidence about the outcome of the November election. He is running for the state’s number-two job against Democratic nominee Ralph Northam, a Norfolk state senator.

Jackson, a Chesapeake minister and evangelical leader, said the strength of his campaign rested in standing up for the preservation of freedom for all people.

“If we stand up for freedom, we can pass on to our children a dream of something better than we have,” he told his audience.

Jackson has drawn fire for statements that political opponents and some Republican have described as inflammatory — he has said Planned Parenthood has been “far more lethal” to blacks than the KKK, and has compared President Obama to the Antichrist — but his campaign focus in South Boston was personal, and milder.

He recalled a visit from a member of his church, Exodus Faith Ministries, a non- denominational Christian church in Chesapeake, who lost a son Vietnam. “While I served in the military I never went to Vietnam, but when I think of those who gave their last for this country, I think we all need to put our energy, our money and our time in supporting our veterans. It seems like a little price to pay in comparison to what those who sacrificed their lives gave.”

Jackson is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and Harvard Law School. He practiced small business law for 15 years in Boston and during that time he founded a gospel radio station there. The station later went out of business, and Jackson has said its failure forced him to declare bankruptcy.

Both entrances to Hardees were attended by protestors, carrying signs that referrred to past controversial quotes by Jackson: “Sin causes birth defects” and “Yoga leads to Satanic possession.”

On Tuesday, however, most of Jackson’s remarks centered on his growing up poor, in a foster home, eating mayonnaise sandwiches for supper and taking the Saturday night bath in a galvanized tub. Also casting himself as a juvenile delinquent as a youngster, Jackson said it was his father, who was once a hobo, who set him straight, telling him he could achieve anything he set out to do if he put his mind to it.

When Jackson was asked about his stance on uranium mining in Virginia, he responded that he considered that issue to be one that the public must decide. “I will support what the people in the community want although I think it could be dangerous.”

Earlier in the day Jackson had visited with a handful of party faithful in South Hill where he explained that while his position on social issues are fixed and based on his religious beliefs, he knows that as an elected official and a lawyer, his views are secondary to his need to follow and uphold he laws of Virginia.

“As a minister it is my duty to teach people the word of God, not the political implications of those words. As Lt. Governor, my job is to serve the people according to the laws and Constitution of the State. But that does not mean there are two different moral or ethical standards,” Jackson said.

While he called it unfair to turn his messages delivered from the pulpit into a political position, he went on to equate our system of government to a God given right. “The ability to chart the course of our own life is God given, nor can we give to people rights that God did not give us,” Jackson told the audience.

In response to a question asking why he and the other members of the Republican ticket do not campaign together, Jackson said, “We, (meaning he and Republican Attorney General Candidate Mark Obenshain) are taking our lead from Mr. Cuccinelli. He feels that the best way we can blanket the state with our message is to campaign separately.”

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